Accent seasoning is frequently known as monosodium glutamate (MSG). In actuality, Accent seasoning is the brand name of the MSG seasoning blend by Sason. Food is incomplete without that little something: the difference maker.
The best substitutes for Accent Seasoning include various types of salts, various spice and herb mixtures, broths, and soy sauce.
Keep in mind that Accent Seasoning isn’t only MSG, it’s a combination of other seasonings as well.
What is Accent Seasoning?
What is Monosodium Glutamate?
Glutamic acid is an amino acid found naturally in tomatoes, cheese, yeast extract, soy extract, and some others. MSG is the sodium salt of this amino acid. This odorless and flavorless white powder, similar to salt, is a common additive in Asian-style cooking and in many restaurants.
You’ll often find MSG listed if you glance at the ingredients list on condiments, frozen meals, canned goods, snacks like chips, and store-bought sauces. However, you can use it to enhance the flavor of your food at home.
Monosodium glutamate specifically adds the umami notes of flavor. Umami is the core, fifth flavor center on the tongue that notes savory and meaty tastes. This is the part of your tongue that detects natural MSG in foods like aged cheese, cured meats, tomatoes, mushrooms, and more.
What is Accent Seasoning Made of?
Just because you see MSG in an ingredients list, doesn’t mean it’s Accent Seasoning. Accent Seasoning contains MSG, but Sason combines it with other seasonings such as salt, chili pepper, cumin, oregano, garlic, and a few others.
Monosodium Glutamate is flavorless. How does Accent Seasoning Work?
The science of taste. Instead of adding flavor to your dish, MSG interacts with your tastebuds! The taste receptors of your tongue interact with the MSG molecules and change the flavor of the food you’re eating, enhancing them.
How is Accent Seasoning Used?
Unlike many other seasonings, Accent Seasoning is designed to be used during the cooking process. The idea is to combine it with your sauces, soups, and other seasonings and let it blend into the whole meal.
It’s most commonly used with savory foods like meats, roasted vegetables, poultry, potatoes, rice, salads, and casseroles. Use it in your chorizo tacos, beef stew, curry, and favorite spaghetti sauce.
As a highly concentrated seasoning, it’s not recommended to use more than a ½ teaspoon of the seasoning for every 4-6 servings of your dish. Too much and you won’t enhance your flavors, you’ll add a metallic and chemical taste to your dish.
What Can I Use Instead of Accent Seasoning?
While MSG is flavorless on its own, the flavor it provides on the tongue is described as salty. It’s often used as a substitute in low-salt recipes for those fighting high blood pressure. As such, the best alternative to Accent Seasoning would be salt and salt is one of its ingredients.
Being a universal flavor improver, salt is added to both savory and sweet dishes. It works at balancing the other flavors involved. Not only does it enhance the umami notes in dishes, but it also makes the food more aromatic, an important part of taste.
Not all salt is the same though.
1. China Salt
Your best accent substitute is China Salt, which is not actually salt. Monosodium glutamate, or China Salt, adds that umami-enhancing flavor without using actual salt. This is an excellent option for those on low-salt diets for health reasons.
Even though it’s the best substitute, due to reported adverse side effects in some people, MSG has been banned in many locations.
2. Table Salt
The quickest, and the most readily available alternative would be your everyday table salt. Start small and taste your dish before adding more. Straight salt is more potent than accent seasoning and China Salt.
3. Sea Salt
A common alternative to table salt, Sea salt is a great accent salt substitute. Sea salt is collected by evaporating seawater and has several health benefits with additional potassium, calcium, and magnesium. Sea salt doesn’t just add a salty flavor, but a pleasant, sweet aftertaste.
4. Korean Bamboo Salt
A pricier accent salt substitute, but comes with many health benefits. This infused sea salt adds a range of flavors with a mild sulfur aroma. It will add a light salty flavor with more earthy and plant-like tones.
5. Kosher Salt
Derived from rock salt deposits, Kosher salt comes in large crystals and is a great Accent Seasoning Substitute. Unlike table salt, Kosher salt doesn’t have the additives like iodine, or metallic tastes with dextrose and fluoride. It enhances the food, rather than adding saltiness.
Much before the advent of MSG, people used combinations of spices to add flavor to food. The easiest accent substitute would be to use the spices included in the seasoning itself. With or without salt is simply your personal preference.
The big spices that should be in every kitchen would include black pepper, red pepper flakes, cayenne pepper, chili powder, curry powder, paprika, and of course, garlic powder.
Many herb options will help you replicate the balance of flavors in accent seasoning. Rosemary, tarragon, pepper, and garlic are always good options, but if you’d like to replicate the warmth of accent seasoning, try adding cumin and turmeric.
Adding herbs increases the depth of flavor in a dish, so consider using a combination of several to highlight specific flavors. Certain herbs go with certain dishes so consider that when choosing your added flavors.
8. Beef Stock or Broth
Accent seasoning, having originated in Asian cooking, specifically enhances the umami notes in a dish. Beef stock and beef broth carry these umami flavors naturally and can serve as an accent alternative in some recipes, despite the texture difference between the two. Think of this alternative in liquid-based dishes like soups, stews, and sauces.
9. Creole Seasoning
Creole cuisine is a blend of Native American, African, and European cuisines found in Louisiana. The token seasoning is a combination of different spices and herbs including garlic, paprika, salt, cayenne pepper, black pepper, thyme, basil, and oregano.
Due to the mix of ingredients, it adds a lot of flavors and therefore depth to a dish. While not the same as MSG, it can improve the balance of your dish.
Consider creole seasoning as your accent substitute with seafood, stews, soups, salads, and meat dishes you’d like to add a little heat to.
10. Homemade Accent Seasoning
Making your version of accent seasoning takes minutes. If you start with about 26 oz of salt you can add the other herbs and spices by the tablespoon.
Essential to an accent seasoning mix is peppers, so make sure to mix in a couple of tablespoons of cayenne pepper and black pepper. It’s not a bad idea to add in a few tablespoons of chili powder, if you like it, alongside the other spicy flavors.
The last of the powdered ingredients would be some onion and garlic powder.
Once you create this nice base, it’s time to add your herbs. A good blend of dehydrated herbs is thyme, basil, and bay leaf. Stir it all up and store it in a sealed container.
Or, Try this recipe for starters :
- 26 oz salt
- 5 tbsp cayenne pepper
- 3 tbsp black pepper
- 3 tbsp onion powder
- 3 tbsp garlic powder
- 3 tbsp chili powder
- 1 tbsp thyme
- 1 tbsp sweet basil
- 1 tbsp bay leaf
11. Cajun Seasoning
If you don’t have the herbs to make the creole seasoning or a pre-mixed blend, cajun seasoning can be used instead. A good accent seasoning substitute for summer dishes with a peppery, garlic, and smoky flavor, cajun seasoning can be made at home or bought pre-mixed.
While the heat involved depends on the brand, the cajun seasoning will add strong flavor and a hot touch to your food. To intensify the flavor, consider adding or buying a brand that includes smoked paprika alongside the peppers, onions, thyme, garlic, cayenne, and black pepper.
12. Soy Sauce
Soy sauce has a natural amino acid content making it a great accent spice substitute. Two amino acids that add or enhance flavor are glutamate and aspartate and both of these are found in soy sauce.
What truly makes it a great accent seasoning substitute is how it enhances the umami flavors in any dish. Combining this with its salty, sweet, and slightly bitter flavors makes it useful as an MSG alternative and a substitute for most salt and seasoning.
This works great in dishes, especially Asian dishes, marinades, with noodles and rice, and in salad dressings.
If you’re trying to avoid MSG, make sure to check the ingredients list on your chosen soy sauce as many brands due have MSG in them.
13. Bouillon Powder
A combination of meat stock, MSG, dried vegetables, salt, fat, and seasonings, bouillon powder has to be one of the best accent seasoning substitutes. Using the powder form instead of the liquid and cube varieties will maintain the textures of accent seasoning, as well as the flavors.
Bouillon powder adds all the flavors to your dish without having the fresh ingredients and even comes in vegan and vegetarian varieties.
14. Potassium Chloride
There are alternatives to high-sodium salts for those trying to lower their sodium intake. Potassium chloride is a readily available salt substitute to add flavor. Be advised that it can interact poorly with some medications, especially those for high blood pressure.
15. Calcium Chloride
Much like potassium chloride, calcium chloride can be used to add flavor without the sodium content of salt. Some people find it to be irritating and like other seasonings, these alternatives can cause foul tastes if used in too high a quantity.
16. Dairy Concentrates
Diary concentrates are a popular substitute for MSG. Made through enzyme modification of butter, cream, and cheese, they can even be found in powder form to make a similar match in texture to accent seasoning.
How to Choose an Accent Seasoning Alternative
Selecting an appropriate accent seasoning substitute for your needs is dependent on many factors. Consider these three things when making your choice.
What are you making?
While Accent Seasoning is used in a wide variety of dishes, the alternatives are sometimes suited only to certain types. The most versatile alternative is salt, so if you’re unsure if it will pair well with your intended meal, salt is a safe bet. Otherwise, look into what seasonings work with the main ingredients of your dish.
Your eating habits
Consider your food requirements, restrictions, and preferences. If you’re vegan or vegetarian, obviously beef broth wouldn’t be a good choice. If you’re following a low-sodium diet, your options will also be restricted, as are those who can’t consume or don’t like spicy/hot foods.
What you have on hand
A lot of the accent seasoning alternatives are found regularly in the average kitchen pantry or spice rack. Use what you have on hand, or consider making your own Accent Seasoning if you’re trying to remove MSG from your diet.
Is Accent Seasoning Bad for You?
No. Accent Seasoning is not bad for you. Some people find themselves to be sensitive to MSG and look to remove MSG from their diet, but don’t want to lose out on the depth of flavor it provides.
What Spices are in Accent Seasoning?
Accent Seasoning Ingredients are as follows:
- Monosodium Glutamate
- Chili Pepper
- Garlic Extractives
- Onion Extractives
- Paprika Extractives
- Spice: cumin, oregano
- Tricalcium Phosphate (anti-caking agent)
- Yellow Lake (No. 5 and 6)
Is Accent Seasoning the Same as Seasoned Salt?
Lawry’s seasoned salt and other seasoned salt varieties share many of the same ingredients as Accent Seasoning, but do have different compositions. Accent Seasoning has 60% less sodium than salt, while seasoned salt has high sodium content and its intended purpose is very similar to that of salt.
There are many good alternatives to Accent Seasoning that lend a similar flavor, so long as you’re willing to spend a little while experimenting.
For example kosher salt, celery salt, celery seed, dried dill, ground white or black pepper, or any combination thereof. The point is that there are plenty of ways to add the same distinct intensity of flavor without the extra additives.
Tiffany McCauley is a celebrated food and travel journalist and cookbook author known for her engaging stories on culinary adventures and cultural insights. With a background featuring collaborations with notable brands and publications, Tiffany brings a wealth of experience and a fresh perspective to Fanatically Food, where she champions taste, sustainability, and the art of cooking. Read More Here